A Quantitative Estimate of Vulnerable People and Evaluation of Flood Evacuation Policy
Karina Vink*,**, Kuniyoshi Takeuchi**, and Kelly M. Kibler**
*National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Disaster Management Program (DMP), National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, 7-22-1 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-8677, Japan
**International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), 1-6 Minamihara, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8516, Japan
Disaster Risk Management (DRM) laws and policies ideally contain measures to reduce disaster risk to all exposed people equally, even the most vulnerable people. To investigate this, we estimate the number of potentially vulnerable people in areas exposed to flood hazard, and evaluate the laws and policies which aim to reduce vulnerability. We proposed a theoretical framework based on four recognized characteristics of vulnerability (less physically or mentally capable; fewer material and/or financial resources; less access to information, and restricted by commitments) and created indicators for six groups of potentially vulnerable people: children, older adults, minorities, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, and women. We applied the framework to the populations of Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States, and proposed a new DRM policy evaluation method; and found that measures in DRM laws and policies are not in proportion to the number of potentially vulnerable people. The most numerous indicators included children aged 0-14, women with no car, and people with pets. The top ten indicators account for 80% of all potentially vulnerable people. When addressing the needs of vulnerable people from a policy perspective, these top ten indicators may serve as a starting point in order to increase the resilience of the vulnerable population. Seven of these ten are identical across the three case study countries, meaning the countries can learn from each other’s measures and possibly apply them in their own area. Policy evaluation showed that while many laws and policies do recognize various groups of potentially vulnerable people, they lack detailed support measures. Much remains to be amended in policies on all scale levels if the policies are to realize an equal disaster risk for all exposed people.
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